Goonhammer Previews the 2023 WCW Age of Sigmar Tournament

Age of Sigmar is also joining the Warhammer World Championships with its own tournament. With players from 18 countries, it’s set to be one of the most diverse and competitive Age of Sigmar events that’s ever been held. We’ll be having coverage all this week, along side the 40k and Kill Team events. Today we’ll break down the event, the competitors and what their pods look like for them.

The Format

The event is broken down into 4 pools, roughly 21 players a piece. Players will play two games on Thursday and three on Friday. The top 2 of each pool (so 8 in total) will then move onto a double-elimination bracket on Saturday and Sunday with 3 games each day (plus a 4th “Death’s Match” on Saturday eliminate the last player with one loss).

Meanwhile, players who didn’t make it into the bracket can still compete in 2 games on Saturday and one game on Sunday to attempt to win other awards. While only the Brackets can win Best General, there are still other awards up for grabs for anyone including Best Overall, Best Painted, Faction scores and Sportsmanship.

Faction Breakdown

The breakdown of factions probably isn’t too shocking. At the top are Ossiarch Bonereapers with 8 and then Seraphon and Blades of Khorne at 7. Ossiarch Bonereapers have been consistent performers at the top tables, even post-ressurection nerf. Seraphon have maintained a strong hold on the game with the amount of mortal wounds they can shell out, and Khorne is a strong counter play in the current Magic-centric meta of this season.

At the bottom, also not much of a surprise. At only 1 general each we see the Flesh-Eater Courts (Brendan Melnick – United States), Nighthaunt (Matthew Gouldesborough – Wales) and Kruleboyz (Ricky O’Steen – United States). All 3 factions have had some dismal win rates pretty much entirely through third edition. Do their generals have some secret game plan? Do they not fancy their chances and figure they’ll have some fun with it to win best in faction? It’ll be fun to see.

Some other highlights are the surprisingly high number of Skaven players, and Soulblight in the middle there. Skaven have struggled due to their lack of consistent options, mostly banking on long odds that don’t tend to lend themselves to winning over 5 games. On the flip side, Soulblight have been a meta contender for a while, with Zombie horde lists dominating tournaments for the past few months. They did take a few whacks on the head recently, so it’s possible the perception is they’re on their way out.

Overall the faction diversity is much higher than I expected, and balanced out more or less equally.

International Representation

Games Workshop has touted the International representation of this event, and overall it’s a pretty diverse representation around the globe.

This is an American event, so naturally the vast majority are going to be Americans. The number of French players is much higher than I might have expected, beating out even the England players in third place, and then 5 Australians

The countries that were too small to fit on the chart with only one entrant include: The Philippines, Belgium, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, and Sweden.

The Pods

Finally, we’re going to take a look at the pods and see what looks most promising and maybe make a few predictions about who might win. I will admit I’m approaching this from the perspective of someone most familiar with the American AOS circuit, so I will have a bit of a bias toward those players. We’ve included the ITC rank for players as a way to gauge their relative strengths though we’ll be the first to admit this is far from a perfect ranking – the ITC is very US-centric, particularly when it comes to Age of Sigmar events. Many very good European players will be ranked much lower than they “should” be. Still, it’s the best measure we have currently.

Note: The original charts for this section included a number of incorrect ITC ranks for players who have not recorded ITC scores. This has been corrected, and we regret this error.

Group 1

Christopher Schelling is the clear front runner here, the only ITC rank in the single digits. While Sons of Behemat often struggle to do well in 5 round events, let alone finals, Christopher didn’t get this high up in the rankings doing nothing. The close competition includes Johnathon Roberts with Blades of Khorne and Gabriel Cobaugh with Ogor Mawbtribes.

Roberts may be able to knock Schelling off his perch, but it’s a tough call. A Sons of Behemat player who knows what they’re doing should never be underestimated.

Group 2

This is probably the most bloodthirsty of the pods, something which the average ITC rank backs up. Gavin Grigar, Jiwah Noah Singh, Kaleb Walters and Josh Bennett all in one place is cutthroat. And that’s not counting the other high ranked ITC players like Benjamin Hosking and Benji Askelaad.

It’s really hard to call this one simply because there’s just so many high-ranked players. While Kaleb might be the highest ranked player, Gavin and Noah aren’t too far behind and they’re rocking the anti-magic army.  So for my prediction I’m almost willing to say Noah and Gavin take it, though it could be tough depending on how pairings go. Either way, a lot of high level players will get pushed out of the finals on the basis of this pod alone. And ultimately that’s what makes the pods and the World Championships so exciting – some players who normally win their GTs handily are going to end up going 2-3 against this field.

Group 3

Based on personal experience, Thomas Guan has a strong chance from me. Coming in with the Ossiarch Bonereapers and one of the best players at the US circuit, but there are other really competitive players here like Cody Saults and Dale Ervin.

Group 4

Another very competitive group, though many more lower ranked players than Group 2 to balance it out. Aaron Newborn, Nicholas Walters, Jon Anderson and Frederick Schmidt are all big competition for the Americans. The high concentration of Idoneth Deepkin and Bonereapers is notable here, with a lot of glass cannon vs iron walls, so a lot of it will likely come down to missions.

Closing Thoughts

It’s set to be an interesting few days and we’re going to have continuing coverage throughout the week. We have interviews lined up with some of the top players, and we will follow the brackets as they happen, so stay tuned!

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